Sunday, October 20, 2013

Digging into PDD: Project Deficit Disorder

     The box arrived last week -- bigger, much bigger, than I had imagined when I placed an ambitious order for spring bulbs. I was envisioning a bright blanket of electric blue blossoms spreading spring vitality beneath still-sleeping lavenders on the sloping bank of our front yard. How hard could it be with bulbs no larger than a radish? 

    For several years, I've delighted in the joyous April excesses of an open lot that I pass almost daily on the route from home. Each year the grassy plot erupts with a dazzling display of vibrant blue grape hyacinth blossoms, also known as muscari.

     "The blue spikes of muscari are lovely on their own but they need to be planted in large numbers for best effect," advised the commentary on the website I consulted. Large numbers! I took a deep breath and placed an order for 1,000 bulbs. 

     Now, with the box before me, I confronted the challenge: Ten yellow mesh bags of 100 bulbs each. Questions bubbled madly in my mind, speeding ahead of logic or reason. One hundred bulbs per hour? Would that be a reasonable planting speed? One hundred bulbs per hour--ten hours of bending, digging, and balancing on a sloping bank? One hour a day? Ten days from now, all ten bags emptied? 

     Behind the questions a smile slipped from another recess of my active brain.  Aha! A project! An antidote to PDD! 

     In recent weeks, I've been mired in lassitude. In this era of discomforts disguised by initials, I diagnosed my malaise as PDD--Project Deficit Disorder.  As mornings came later and evenings sooner, the chill of fall evoked a call to action. (Vacation is over, my dear!) Then, the Spanish grammar class I signed up for was cancelled for lack of enrollment and PDD symptoms escalated. No new writing project currently woos me to my desk. No teaching program awaits design. I'm untethered from a creative directive that gives structure and purpose to my days. 

     No wonder I swooped on the box of bulbs with heightened eagerness. A Project! An undertaking with a visible outcome. Now, 500 bulbs into the challenge, I've established that my timetable needs revision--a bit more tolerance and flexibility. So too, perhaps, does my PDD diagnosis.

     Brittle leaves from the massive oaks overhead skitter past me as I hunch over the soil, trowel in hand, to dig yet another 3" hole into the clay. Planting bulbs, it occurs to me, is an act of faith and optimism. Faith that the bulbs will survive and take root. Trust that blooms will emerge in spring. Trust that I will witness it all. I recognize a metaphor when it falls at my feet. But, oh, how impatient I am in this season of dormancy! 

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